When we are looking, says Anne Lamott, really actively observing, then we are overriding our tendency towards interpreting and distorting the objects of our perception.
There is nothing necessarily natural or inevitable, argues Gary Snyder, about repression, violence and frustrated personalities, and the more we are able to practice and connect with our deeper natures, the more apparent this becomes. Snyder's vision for a more enlightened society stems from his conviction that the 'joyous and voluntary poverty of Buddhism' is… Continue reading Gary Snyder on Radical Social Change
Lawrence Ferlinghetti was a poet and an activist and one of the central figures of the Beat movement in the 1950s. From his City Lights Bookstore and publishing house, he published writers like Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder and Jack Kerouac who were breaking with the norms and traditions of not just poetry and literature, but… Continue reading A Buddha in the Woodpile
Our favorite rogue Zen philosopher, Alan Watts had a gift for contextualizing the principles of Zen and translating them in a way that non-Buddhist people would be able to comprehend. In this excerpt from his short book, 'Beat Zen Square Zen and Zen', he talks about the importance of understanding our own culture thoroughly so… Continue reading Alan Watts on Beat Zen and Square Zen
Zen student, poet and environmental activist Gary Snyder's Turtle Island, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1975. For Nothing is one of the poems in this book that present a vision of rediscovery of the north American continent whereby its inhabitants cease to behave as colonizers but rather as natives. Earth a… Continue reading Gary Snyder – For Nothing
Jack Kerouac's Dharma Bums, which was published in 1958, crystallizes a moment in West Coast history that came at the beginning of a spiritual awakening that preceded the hippie movement and occurred just as Buddhist philosophy was beginning to take root in the United States. The character Japhy Ryder is Kerouac's friend, poet and Gary… Continue reading Jack Kerouac and the Rucksack Revolution